One of the things we all love about riding our bikes is the breath of fresh air we are constantly blessed with.
The motorbike allows you to explore the serenity of the environment while riding either for work or leisure. However, as you must have experienced, with this pleasure comes pain too: rain.
Unfortunately, rains often come unannounced, and if you’re not prepared, you may run into some trouble. That’s why some people have a deep phobia of riding a motorcycle in the rain. If the rain has ever ruined your ride, you’ll admit it’s an unpalatable experience.
But is there a strategy or any lessons on how to ride a motorcycle in the rain without running into trouble? You bet there is. Playing in the rain may be fun as kids, but it’s an entirely different ball game when you have to ride your motorcycle in one.
Riding your bike is itself a delightful experience. But riding in the rain is something else entirely. You may know how to ride very well, but have you ever tried riding in the rain?
While no one would want to go out while it’s raining, rain may catch up with you while on a journey. So how do you ride your motorcycle in the rain? This article will show you how.
It is normal to be fearful of riding in the rain. Even driving a car in the rain is something many people are wary of doing. The main reason is reduced visibility. During rains, it becomes more difficult to see what is before you. Even the helmet’s visor is fogged up due to condensation.
The second reason has to be the road’s surface, which naturally becomes more slippery as it becomes wet. This is because deposits on the road like dirt, lubricants, fuel, and oils turn the road’s surface into a mess when rain falls on them.
Although the rain eventually washes it off the road, it could be pretty slippery just when the downpour starts. Some riders recommend pulling over for at least 15 minutes once the rain starts to allow the water to wash off the contaminants.
The problems that rain cause aren’t peculiar to motorcycle riders alone as all road users face the same challenges, drivers and riders alike. However, motorcycle riders seem to be at greater risk. And by risk, we aren’t talking just about the rider getting wet.
This article is all about how to ride a motorcycle in the rain and do so safely. Are we saying you shouldn’t ride in the rain?
Absolutely not! There may be reasons why you’ll have no other choice but to dare the weather.
Is it Safe to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain?
Is it safe to ride at all?
If it’s safe to hit the road for adventures with your bike, it is safe to ride a motorcycle in the rain- if you’re careful. If there’s any danger at all, it can be avoided. You should be able to take precautions and keep riding safely when it rains.
Before getting on your bike, you want to ask a question: “what happens if it rains”? If you’re well prepared for the rains, it is easier to cope when it comes. Thankfully, most bikes have been designed with features that make them easier to manage with wet road surfaces and reduced visibility. So, it’s a question of preparation.
But if you are not well kitted for rain, you may become uncomfortable as the wind and water beat your face. Your wet clothing irritates you, and the chilly wind may make you freeze. Riding in such conditions is very difficult. If you prepare ahead and take the precautions we would list, you’ll have no problem riding in the rain later on.
We must admit that riding in the rain is more difficult than in normal weather, but it is not something to be afraid of.
Is Every Motorbike made for a Rain Ride?
All motorcycles are made for the road. But the road sometimes becomes wet. So, motorcycles have also been adapted for the rain—the newer the model, the better the ability of the bike to cope in the shower. High-performance tires and ABS are some of the innovative interventions in bikes that make them cope with wet conditions.
If you have a city bike, it may not have all the specifications you want in damp weather. But as you know, the motorcycle has no phobia of water. If anything, it may help clean some debris on the bike.
But the motorcycle tire may be only designed for the dry road surface. Many newer models can cope better because they are fitted with tires that can hold their own on wet and slippery surfaces. So, the tougher the bike, the easier it can cope with rain.
It would be wrong to say every motorbike is made for rain because some bikes can adapt better and have greater coping capacities. But we believe that the most critical factor here is the rider. A rider who takes precautions and is prepared for the rains would cope better during a downpour than an unprepared rider who rides the most sophisticated bike.
So, whatever bike you have, you won’t have problems if you follow the “rain-ride rules” that we would outline. You’ll enjoy the experience.
Rain Ride Rules
You should follow these rules if you want to ride smoothly in the rain.
Check your motorcycle well before riding.
The best time to prepare for the rain is before it starts. Check your tires and brakes, which are what you can’t do without when the ground is wet.
Some motorcycles are fitted with ABS units which makes them better. Be sure that your bike can stop at once when the brakes are applied. Be sure that chains are perfect and the oil isn’t leaking.
Be prepared – kit for the weather.
Another critical issue is the kit. When riding in the rain, regular clothing can cause problems. You need waterproof or water-resistant clothing and footwear. Some jackets are specifically designed for riders in the rain.
Your jacket should keep you warm and insulated from cold and strong winds, and your boots shouldn’t let water seep through. Don’t forget your waterproof gloves as well. When riding in the rain, you may use any comfortable helmet, but it is recommended that you go for full-face ones.
This would guarantee better protection against water and winds. Most helmets are also designed to prevent fog—more on fog in the next point.
Fight the fog
If your helmet is not designed to fight fog, don’t have a full-face helmet, or intend to ride without one (we feel this isn’t a good idea), you can go for a goggle. Once it starts raining, the fog would build up around your goggles, visor, and windshield. When that happens, your sight is affected.
That’s why you need to prepare to fight the fog. The easiest way is to wipe your shield and visor with anti-fog treatment. This would retain your visibility and reduce the build-up of fog. Even if you have an anti-fog visor, an additional precaution would be to leave it slightly ajar during the rain. This reduces the build-up of vapor.
During the rain…
When the rain is pouring, you need to take some deliberate steps to ensure that you stay safe.
Wear visible gear. You should ensure that your clothes are as bright as possible, and reflective. This precaution is necessary as it makes it easier for riders and drivers on the road to see you.
Reduce your speed. When the rain is falling, ensure you reduce your speed. Remember, you won’t see as clearly as you would normally do, so you need to move slowly to avoid pitfalls, obstacles, and holes. When you need to apply your brakes, prepare for slippery surfaces, and don’t ever be in a hurry.
When riding in the rain, avoid spots that look slippery. Avoid slippery and shiny areas. Some portions of the road are always drier than others. Try to ride on those portions. Then, stay away from the edge of the road. If a vehicle is driving ahead of you, you may want to follow the tracks of the tires as it would be drier. Keep a safe distance, though.
Avoid puddles. Because you may not know what’s beneath, it’s safe to pass. This is common sense.
Take a break. If the rain becomes too heavy, or you observe the lightning are frequent, no matter how compelling your anti-fog plan is, visibility soon becomes unbearably poor, and you’re at risk of being struck by lightning. It is better to take a break and continue the journey after the rain.
Essential Rain Ride Gear
If you want to have a smooth ride, here’s a list of the essential gear you need in the rain; you can’t do without these:
Good helmet with an anti-fog visor
Staying safe is very important, and riding in the rain could be risky if you’re not careful. But with the right gear and a lot of care, you can ride safely, even when cats and dogs are falling from the sky!
One must always be prepared for a wet ride. This comes down to having your bike in good condition if you want your ride in the rain to be smooth and problem-free. Switch to your rain mode and enjoy the bliss when it comes.
Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with LetsGoForARide.com, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.